September 28, 2013, was a banner day at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Lower Potomac Field Station (LPFS). It was a Saturday morning and over 200 volunteers met at the Mustang Trailhead to participate in the 20th Anniversary of National Public Lands Day. Luckily, the predicted rain did not happen!
In a few short hours, 9:00 am - noon, volunteers and staff made record progress on a variety of projects at the Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Freedom High School Students, the general public, BLM Washington Office administrators and staff, BLM retirees, Friends of Meadowood and BLM staff were anxious to make the most of the morning.
After a short welcome from BLM Principal Deputy Director, Neil Kornze followed by Eastern States Director, Dr. John Lyon, it was LPFS Acting Manager, Dr. Robin Hawks' turn to start the action and direct NPLD participants to task areas. Project leaders were ready with paint, gloves, tools and equipment to get the show on the road. Youth had many activities in store for them too like a Nature Walk and using a "Pollinator Wheel" to learn about pollinator friendly landscapes. The group leaders ask participants, "Did you know that domestic honey bees pollinate approximately $10 billion worth of crops in the U.S. each year?"
It was quite a site to see 200 volunteers in matching shirts heading off for work duties that included:
· Weeding the Pollinator Garden (created during last year's NPLD event)
· Enhancing access and improving landscaping at Enchanted Pond. People were already fishing in the new and improved surroundings within an hour after volunteers left the scene.
· Volunteers of all ages and abilities painted over 9,400 linear feet of fencing (over a mile and 3/4's - 1.76 to be exact) and that doesn’t include the fence posts! What a difference a morning makes!
Faces may have had touches of paint, shirts and hands were mighty dirty, and all were very tired, but the smiles told the story. LPFS's small staff of 5 could not have done all this work even if given 6 months. Everyone was proud, appreciative and ready to take a break when the 3 hours was over. Meadowood looks like a new place! So much was accomplished!
Here are some quotes from volunteers:
“Never thought painting could be fun.”
Youth: “We got to go on a Nature Walk and saw lots of birds and butterflies and learned about animals who live in the forest.”
“We can come out to Meadowood seven days a week for free?” (Yes you can.)
“I want to come out and fish at Enchanted Pond.” (Lots of these comments.)
Youth: “Will the horses like the painted fence?”
NPLD 2013 was a wonderful success at Meadowood. As a result of their hard work, volunteers were rewarded with a t-shirt, public lands recreation pass for a year, a new Meadowood brochure as well as a submarine sandwich lunch that even included cookies. Most importantly, everyone left with a feeling of pride in the positive difference they made to their public lands.
But there is always more to do. Please plan to join us for 2014 NPLD. Watch for the announcement on our web site:http://www.blm.gov/es/st/en.html . You will be more than welcome to lend a hand at Meadowood. Want to get an early start? Call Diane Hendry at 703-339--8561 or email email@example.com to volunteer now.
See what National Public Lands Day 2013 Volunteers accomplished!